Debate Over 'Head Tax' Enters Key Stretch at Seattle City Council

Here's what's happening over the next couple weeks with the proposed new employee-hours tax on Seattle businesses

This article originally ran on SCC Insight.

It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks for the Council members involved in proposing a new employee-hours tax on Seattle businesses.

A logistical note to keep in mind: Council members Gonzalez and Herbold are writing the legislation, but it will be debated and amended in Council member Bagshaw’s committee. So all three of them have important roles to play in the head tax as it moves forward.

Things kick off Tuesday at 12:30 with a roundtable session for businesses and nonprofits, hosted by Bagshaw, to discuss and give feedback on the proposed tax. Earlier today I posted the confirmed list of participants as of this morning.

Later this week, Council members Gonzalez and Herbold plan to meet with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce in a closed session to discuss the proposal.

In the meantime, Gonzalez and Herbold are putting the finishing touches on the first version of the tax ordinance; they hope to complete it later this week in time to include it on next Monday’s Introduction and Referral Calendar. The ordinance will be accompanied by a resolution laying out priorities for how to spend the revenues generated.

Next Monday, Bagshaw will hold a public hearing on the proposed head tax. Then it will again be a topic of discussion in her regular Wednesday committee meeting — the first hearing with an actual bill to be reviewed and debated.

Beyond next Wednesday, the timing for the bill to move through Bagshaw’s committee and on to the full Council is unclear. Gonzalez previously stated that she wanted a Racial Equity Toolkit analysis of the head tax proposal to be completed before she introduced the legislation, but that timing seems to have shifted; it’s unknown whether the Council will wait for that report before moving the bill forward.

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